The Golden Ratio: an argument for Intelligent Design?

Hello everyone ๐Ÿ™‚

I have just been added as an author and going to kick off with a post which was inspired by a facebook message I received today from someone who asked me to watch the following 2 videos:

As requested I stuck with the videos and decided to write a response as it’s something that needs addressing and I’ve wanted to address for a while…so it’s a generalised response and not all aimed at the person who originally sent me the message.

Firstly, seeing as I spent 8 and a half minutes of my life watching the first video, and a further 7 minutes watching the second…and a further 20 minutes researching this stuff for myself and a further 30 minutes writing this…others can now do the same, and spend roughly an hour on my point of view, which is as follows, and on further research – ie. don’t take my word for it ๐Ÿ˜›

First thing to note is that in life I like to look at things skeptically. This doesn’t make me a cynic – it just means I want to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible.

If presented with stuff like the above (this is mostly in reference to the first video by the way), I will independently research to see if there’s any truth in the claims. This guy is quite clearly pushing an agenda – firstly, he’s using buzzwords like ‘sacred‘ and ‘divine‘ all the way through, and then in the last minute or so he makes the colossal jump to say ‘this is amazing, therefore god’, and secondly…he’s trying to sell his art which isn’t all that nice lool.

I should also note that this is a classicย argument from ignorance. He can’t explain it and so leaps to God as an explanation, rather than exploring further through rigorous scientific study. It is also clear that he has started with aย presupposition (God), which is obvious, as he was using the buzzwords I picked out above throughout, and is only exhibiting evidence to support his presupposition.

He fails to note that actually, many claims of sightings of the so called ‘Golden Ratio’ in nature have been discredited, because much variation in proportions has been observed in these cases (see wiki:ย ย ‘Disputed observations’ section).

To posit a god here when one isn’t needed isย intellectually dishonest; these patterns apply to some individuals, not all, and therefore any assertion that ‘the golden ratio is Universal and indicates design’ is automatically falsified by even one example that doesn’t meet that criterion.

It’s also worth noting here that the human brain is excellent at recognising patterns, even when there aren’t any there (ie. something may at first appear to be a pattern but on further investigation is not) (hence why people see Jesus in a slice of toast.)

My next problem with this is that labelling this phenomenon the work of God hasn’t actually increased our actual understanding of why it occurs; in fact it immediately limits any possible further understanding or investigation, because so many people are happy to accept God as an ‘explanation’. This frustrates me no end, as it is complete and utter ignorance – for the reason I just noted, and also because there are people who spend their lives researching this stuff, and people like this guy jump in and make the blind assertion that ‘God did it’, without any credentials behind them. (I don’t know about the video guy’s credentials, but I’m saying this as something I’ve generally noticed about people who cry ‘God’. However seeing as he has done just that I’m willing to bet he’s just as ignorant on the topic as everyone else who says God did it..)

Furthermore, if you think about it, it’s not all that impressive that you can put a square inside a rectangle and come out with a rectangle with the same ratio as the original rectangle.

To use Douglas Adams’ analogy:

‘Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, “This is an interesting world I find myself in โ€” an interesting hole I find myself in โ€” fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!” This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it’s still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.’

Basically, this ‘golden ratio’ is given way more significance than it deserves and has been made out to be way more complex than it actually is.

This ratio does not point to design. By definition the posited designer must be even more complex than everything in existence, so nothing has been explained and a bigger problem has been created. We also know from the observable Universe that things naturally start simple and get more complex. So to put forward a god that is more complex than the Universe itself simply doesn’t make sense.

Intelligent design is not helpful in understanding how the Universe came to be. What people should really strive for is the proper practice of science, as through the pursuit of science and reason we can discover the true beauty of the Universe and how everything actually came about.

The Universe operates under certain physical laws; laws that allow this pattern to reoccur in nature. If there was a God, surely he should sign his work with something slightly more obvious than a spiral pattern?

With regards to evolution, many animals share a body plan. This is because evolution can only work with what it already has, and if something works and is advantageous in an environment it will be propagated. In fact, here’s a link to some research which seems to show that when the golden ratio appears in living things, it does so because it is extremely efficient and something selection would favour.

Last bit (had a little help from Ankur on this part):

1. The assertion is that everything that shows the golden ratio is designed.

2. It follows from 1. that if the golden ratio is a universal indicator of design, then all objects that are designed must show the golden ratio

3. It follows from 2. that anything that does not show the golden ratio is not designed.

4. It is possible to show examples in nature that don’t show this ratio.

5. Therefore it follows that all those examples aren’t designed, and because they are extremely similar to other examples of a similar type which do show the golden ratio, it follows that extremely similar objects would be designed and not designed, this is absurd.

6. It is also true that I can draw things that don’t show the golden ratio, and these drawings would be designed, thus showing the initial assertion (2.) to be flawed and invalid.

To conclude, presence of the golden ratio is not a viable indicator of design.


So yeah, I was told to look a little deeper and as it turns out, the argument was exposed to be severely flawed. A little critical thinking goes a long way ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here is a flower:

Hope you enjoyed my first post ๐Ÿ™‚



3 responses to “The Golden Ratio: an argument for Intelligent Design?

  1. Welcome to the blog, Juliet, and happy blogging ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Perfect site, i like it!

  3. Very interesting site. Hope it will always be alive!

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